Gretchen Bleiler is peaking at the right time. The 28-year-old snowboarder "went to a whole other level" at the Winter X Games last month to claim her record fourth superpipe title. "It feels amazing to win that. I finally stepped up to my potential," she tells TVGuide.com. "I know I'm capable of doing more at the Olympics." The Aspen, Colo., native, who nabbed silver in Torino, is back to win gold and is contemplating a never-before-landed trick in the women's competition to help her do it: the 1080 (three revolutions in the air).
The last time an American man won Olympic figure skating gold, Evan Lysacek was a toddler. That was in 1988 when Brian Boitano edged Canadian Brian Orser in the Battle of the Brians on Orser's home turf in Calgary. Twenty-two years later, the Winter Olympics are back in Canada, and Lysacek, the defending world champion, is seen as the one who can end the U.S. drought. "Scott Hamilton is a good friend of mine, and he keeps telling me that most U.S. world champions have won the Olympics," Lysacek, 24, tells TVGuide.com. "But I'm just going to do my best. I'm the type of competitor that just goes about my business and handles things when I get there." Lysacek, who finished second at nationals behind Jeremy Abbott and ahead of Johnny Weir, has his work cut out for him with a loaded international field that includes defending champion Evgeni Plushenko. See what he has to say about his competition, whether he will throw a high-scoring quadruple jump and why the men's team is "going to take on the world."
Catch the men's short program Tuesday at 8/7c and the long program Thursday at 8/7c on NBC.